Today was our first visit to the Magic Kingdom on this trip. We managed to arrive at the park early enough to park in the first row of the parking lot and be first in line at the gate. Kind of like our first day at Universal, we may have arrived too early!
We followed our touring plan (provided by the book “The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World”) and pretty much rode everything we were interested in by 1:30. We spent the afternoon seeing some shows and waiting in some long lines for Winnie the Pooh and It’s A Small World. All in all, a good day at the Happiest Place on Earth.
We used our free Fastpass on the Jungle River Cruise. Maybe not the wisest decision, but I really wanted to ride it because I used to work with a guy who was a Jungle Cruise Skipper for years. He still told the bad jokes that are customary on this ride. Since it was the holiday season, the staff referred to it as the “Jingle Cruise” and incorporated many Christmas themed jokes into the shtick.
During the afternoon, we ran into another family from Tulsa at the Bear Country Jamboree that was in town for the Renegade Regiment parade tomorrow. They were only expecting 80,000 people in Magic Kingdom today, so of course we randomly ran into them. (We also ran into them hours later.)
Today we brought our own lunch to the park and stored it in a locker. We found a couple of free park benches on the second level of the train station right inside the front gate. Very convenient.
In the afternoon, we spent about an hour in line for the Winnie the Pooh ride. Fortunately for us, the bear himself showed up at a spot next to us for pictures. So we helped ourselves.
One of the last things we had to do before we left was to get our family photo taken at Cinderella’s castle. We just happened to find one of the Disney World photography managers, and she was more than happy to take our picture. She was a rock star. She gave us tips on where to watch the band perform tomorrow, and also mentioned that the Disney World goal was to take 2 million pictures the week of Christmas. Audacious!
We had to cut out of the park at 5:30 to get the older kids to the band’s hotel near Universal. We even had time to stop and eat at Panda Express (of all places) and still get them dropped off on time.
Today, KK and PK had a very easy going day. They only left the house in order to grab some lunch at the Providence Golf Club Grille Room. Still not sure how they decided on this location. I’m sure that is a great story.
Scott, Erin and Grandma Mary got out and about a lot more than KK and PK. They slept in and then visited one of the outlet malls that has a Disney Character Warehouse store. They were pretty disappointed in the quality and quantity of their merchandise. They did pick up photo albums and picture frames, but that was about it.
They had lunch at Cookes of Dublin in Disney Springs. It was fantastic, especially for Erin because they had gluten-free onion rings. Are they open for breakfast, lunch and dinner? If so, you might see Erin there every meal. They hoped to ride the hot air balloon at Disney Springs that is attached to the ground, but it was too windy to operate.
They ended the evening with a trip to the town of Celebration. This is a town created by Disney in the early 90s. It was intended to be a town worthy of the Disney brand and legacy. Scott and Erin were impressed.
Everything in town was well manicured, and the town square was blocked off for a Christmas celebration complete with “snow”. The snow was some sort of foam that really looked like snow. They were very glad that they took the time to visit. Sounds like this will be on my list too!
Today went about as well as can be expected. Hoping for more of the same tomorrow when all 8 of us visit the Magic Kingdom to watch Miles and Mallory in the Disney Parade.